Recently I have been trying to acquire new vocabulary. I read a lot of books and websites and look up a lot of words in dictionaries, but I have a terrible memory. So all those dictionary look-ups often turn out to be useless.
I went to look for a way to register all the interesting words I meet when reading websites and books. Ideally the tool I was looking for should store the data in a spreadsheet and it should also store the context or sentence in which I found the new word. Of course you can just store a spreadsheet somewhere on your hard drive and then manually update the spreadsheet every time you meet a new word. But for lazy people (like me), that’s often too much work. Another thing you can do is keeping a small notebook, and just manually write down all new words in it. But again it’s a lot of work to write out the sentences in which the word is used.
I have found a tool which is extremely useful. It’s called “speed learning”-extension for Chrome. I use it in combination with the “Longdo dictionary” extension. Both are extensions for the Chrome or Chromium web-browser.
The “speed learning” extension generates a spreadsheet on your google drive. Later on you can export the spreadsheet to Anki, so you can do spaced repetition exercises on it. Before explaining how to use the speed reading extension I would like to explain how to use the “Longdo dictionary”-extension.
The longdo dictionary extension…
You can download the chrome extension here: Longdo Dictionary.
With this extension you can look up a word just by selecting it and then right-clicking on the selection. Like in this example I selected สวาด then right clicked on it and selected “Translate in Longdo”.
The “speed learning” extension…
You can install the extension via this link: Speed Learning.
The name sounds spectacular but it’s just a very simple tool that allows you to store a word and its context in a spreadsheet on your google drive.
It’s very easy to use, you select the sentence in which the word appears. And then you right-click and choose “save selected text to google docs”. After than you type the word of interest and click on OK.
The word of interest here was แต้ม. So I just type that and click on OK.
If you’re reading a book, or you just came up with your own sentence, you can also manually add words to the spreadsheet from within your browser window. Just click on the speed learning icon and select “Add a sentence”.
Later on, when you’ve finished reading you can go to your google drive, open the spreadsheet and add the translations in another column.
To find the translation you just triple click on the cell to select the word. After that you right click on the selection and choose “Translate in Longdo”. You can choose whatever translations looks like the best for you and fill it in in the spreadsheet.
To export the data to Anki. You just just save the sheet as a csv-file (File – Download as – Comma separated values) and then you choose “File – import” in Anki. How to design an Anki deck is outside of the scope of this post.